Broadway’s ‘MJ’ gets box office bump after Tony Awards

NEW YORK — ‘MJ’, the hit Broadway musical about the King of Pop, had a huge box office bump after catching four Tony Awards and gain valuable exposure in front of millions during his electric broadcast performances.

The Michael Jackson Show may have lost the Best New Music crown to “A Strange Loop,” but it won Best Actor in a Music Trophy for Myles Frost and grossed $1,661,000 in the week after the Tonys. It’s the biggest box office jump last week on Broadway and a new high for the show.

“That’s one of the benefits of being able to be nominated for Tony is that you have the opportunity to perform on the Tonys and to be able to present our show to so many theater-loving people,” said Lia Vollack, the main producer.

Another show that saw a post-Tonys rebound was “A Strange Loop,” which grossed $845,313 for the week ending June 19, a jump of $168,998 from the previous week and a new summit for the show.

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Other musicals saw more modest gains, such as “Six” and “Paradise Square,” with a stunning performance by Best Actress in a Musical Joaquina Kalukango.

“MJ” is set during the build-up to Jackson’s 1992 “Dangerous” tour and travels back in time to explore his youth, with songs like “ABC”, “Black or White”, “Blame it on the Boogie”, “Bad”, “Billie Jean”, “Off the Wall” and “Thriller”. It also earned Christopher Wheeldon the Tony for Best Choreography.

“MJ” is planning a national tour that will begin in Chicago in July 2023, with a stopover in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. Vollack spoke from London, which led to speculation that a West End production might be mounted.

Because “MJ” isn’t a star vehicle, Vollack hopes to replicate by finding someone as talented as Frost to run other businesses. “I think there’s some amazing talent out there, and we’re looking forward to finding people for years to come and hopefully in different companies to play the role,” she said.

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The Tony Awards reached 4.22 million viewers on June 12, a rebound for Broadway after the show in September last year was seen by 2.75 million people. Many took to Twitter in amazement after seeing Frost moonwalk during her performance of “Smooth Criminal.”

Vollack was gracious in her Tony wins, saying “any show that’s managed to happen in the last season actually deserves a Tony.”

“I was so proud to be a part of this season and to be a part of this community because this community is so resilient and dedicated and wants to create,” said Vollack, whose other Broadway credits include “Shuffle Along,” ” Tootsie” and the upcoming “Almost Famous”.

Tony’s telecast exposure usually translates to higher box office numbers the following week, but that certainly wasn’t the case with “The Music Man,” which lost $1,631,334. Star Hugh Jackman was not performing due to a second bout with COVID-19.

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Marc Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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